County raises towers to lower fire premiums

Published 6:00 am Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Water storage tanks will be staged throughout Lawrence County’sDistrict One in an attempt to improve fire service and lowerinsurance premiums, according to a county official.

District One Supervisor Steve Garrett said the county has leasedfour pieces of property and is seeking a fifth as locations for thewater tanks.

Properties already leased include locations on Arm Road, atCenter Volunteer Fire Department, the intersection of Ford Calcoteand Trace Roads and one near the intersection of Highway 27 andF.E. Sellers Highway.

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“I’m working on acquiring a lease for a piece of property to putone near Carmel Baptist Church. I’m talking to them now,” Garrettsaid.

District One has purchased a 12,000 gallon and 10,000 gallontank for two of the locations. The remaining three locations willbe served with 8,000 gallon tanks, he said.

Zolan Ward, Garrett’s father-in-law, has donated one 8,000 tank,but the district will have to purchase the other two.

Atlas Manufacturing, Inc. has offered to provide the steelneeded for the structures at its cost, Garrett said.

The donations have had a significant impact on the cost of theproject, he said.

“When I first started this project, I thought I was looking at$10,000 a tank, but it won’t be near that,” he said. “I think I canget the tanks up for about $3,000 to $5,000 each now.”

It will cost the county very little to maintain the tanks oncethe project is complete, Garrett said. The county will only have tofund a minimal power bill for pipe heating required by theDepartment of Health to avoid lines freezes and an outdoor light inaddition to any maintenance at the site.

“A big part of it is with these dump tanks we hope to get ourfire rating down from a 10 to a 9,” he said. “That would givesubstantial savings to the public on fire insurance as well as giveus a greater capacity for water in case of a fire.”

A fire truck or tanker could be filled in less than a minutefrom the dump tanks, which would greatly enhance their return timeswhen they need more water, Garrett said.

Supervisors in the county’s other four districts are consideringsimilar plans, he said, but have not taken any steps forward.

Work has already begun on the four leased properties, Garrettsaid, with county crews constructing the pads for the tanks.

“I hope to start putting some steel up within the next twoweeks,” he said. “I’m working on the pads now.”

Garrett said he hopes to have the project completed by latesummer.